Of the top Dave Gettleman-era wide receiver pickups still with the Giants, Sterling Shepard was the only one to carve out a major role under Brian Daboll. The longest-tenured Giant’s latest significant injury — an ACL tear sustained on the team’s final offensive play Monday night — will change the team’s receiver plans.
The team played its Week 3 game without Kadarius Toney and second-round rookie Wan’Dale Robinson, and Darius Slayton saw 14 snaps behind unlikely regulars David Sills and Richie James. Most notably, Kenny Golladay‘s workload did increase after his two-snap Week 2 game; the disgruntled veteran played 24 snaps against the Cowboys. Golladay’s final-drive drop ended a zero-reception night, and although he will likely continue to have a role, the Giants have already begun discussing him in trades.
The Giants shopped Golladay just before cutting their roster down to 53 players, according to Albert Breer of SI.com (on Twitter). While the Golladay trade rumblings are connected to the team taking on most of the sixth-year wideout’s salary ($13MM) to move him, Breer adds the Giants expressed a willingness to pay a “significant chunk” of that salary during the late-August trade talks. No teams bit, and the $18MM-per-year wideout continues to go through a de facto walk year as a Giant.
Golladay, 28, caught two passes for 22 yards in the Giants’ opener but has not pulled down a reception since. Cutting the former Pro Bowler now would saddle the Giants with $25MM-plus in dead money, but releasing him with a post-June 1 designation next year brings that total down to barely $7MM. A 2022 trade in which the Giants take on much of Golladay’s through-2024 contract would check in between these two figures.
As for the rest of the Giants’ receiving corps, the team might be standing pat at the position for now. Daboll discussed the players on the active roster and practice squad filling the Shepard void, Ralph Vacchiano of Fox Sports tweets. The team pursued ex-Daboll Bills charge Cole Beasley, but Dan Duggan of The Athletic calls a move that poaches Beasley off the Buccaneers’ practice squad a “long shot” (Twitter link). Beasley expressed interest in heading to Tampa, DM’ing Tom Brady. The veteran slot receiver is now one of the numerous vested veterans in the Bucs’ receiving corps, though playing time could be scarce once Chris Godwin and Julio Jones return from injuries.
Robinson should be expected to play a big role, given that the Daboll-Joe Schoen regime acquired him, while the team was intrigued by Toney this offseason. That said, Toney has been unable to stay on the field since being taken in the 2021 first round. Slayton has been a trade candidate for months, and while Shepard’s absence could open the door for the team’s 2019 and 2020 receiving leader, the pay cut Slayton took before the season also reopens the door to a trade.